Bill to allow patients to choose practitioner or...

ASSEMBLY DIGEST

March 25, 2001|By From staff reports

Bill to allow patients to choose practitioner or physician for care

Patients in health maintenance organizations could select a nurse practitioner as their primary care physician under a bill approved yesterday by the House of Delegates.

Backers of the bill, approved 73-49, said they want patients to have the option of choosing a physician or nurse practitioner to treat them and make decisions about their care. HMOs would not be permitted to require a patient to be seen by a nurse practitioner.

The Senate, which approved a similar bill last year, has not yet acted.

House approves raising fee for vehicle registration

The House has approved a $3-a-year increase in the fee paid by Marylanders to register their vehicles in an effort to help fund the state's emergency medical system.

The amount that people pay every two years to register cars would increase from $70 to $76 under the proposal, which was approved Friday, 112-25. The $70 fee already includes $16 dedicated to emergency medical services - generating about $33 million a year. The increase would provide an additional $13 million annually.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure this week. A similar increase was rejected by the General Assembly last year, but support has grown because the state fund that pays for MedEvac helicopters, paramedic training and the Maryland Shock Trauma Center is facing a $7.2 million deficit by July 2002.

Aggressive driving an offense under bill passed by House

The House approved a bill yesterday that would establish aggressive driving as an offense.

A person would be guilty if they exceeded the speed limit and committed three or more violations - such as weaving in and out of traffic - "at the same time or during a single and continuous period of driving."

The bill, not yet acted upon by the Senate, was approved 81-42.

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